Like a baptism of pure grace.

snow adorns every

blade, twig, branch and trunk,

transforming the forest.

Like its ephemeral presence,

we inhabit briefly our place in time,

our beauty not measured by brevity.

Sunday morning’s brief covering of snowy glory caused me to reflect on our short span of life in the measure of things. Especially during this time, I see more obituaries in our local paper as the number of cases in the surrounding county ratchet ever upward within our health district. Even the nearby small, private university that had a successful hybrid fall semester now has transitioned to fully online. More than fifty students had to be sent to an area hotel to quarantine, with meals being delivered daily from the school’s cafeteria. The numbers are decreasing, however.

Yesterday, my sister came so we could celebrate her birthday together. Unlike other times, we wore masks all day because she had been in contact, several days before, with a young woman who came down with symptoms and is renting a house from them. The same day, I learned of the death of a friend’s husband due to COVID. More than ever, I feel surrounded by the virus.

Yesterday, with a letter from afar, I was glad to learn that some of my friends are in a safer place. They write, “We’re doing quite well here in Prince Edward Island. The province was very quick to take action and went into lock-down early March 2020. To date we have had 110 cases of COVID 19, and all have recovered except 7. There have been no deaths and no hospitalization due to COVID yet.” I wish the same could be said of our county, or even our city of Harrisonburg, Virginia.

In this month of February, Black History Month, I also think of the short but significant lives of Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, and others who sacrificed their lives to speak truth and promote justice. Though their lives were brief and lovely as the snowfall, their words still resonate, flowing through time like the stream in the forest. I want to believe that it will also be so for many others whose lives were cut short by the virus.


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